Lake Solina

05 Sep 2023
This lovely lake in the heart of Bieszczady is just as popular as the mountains that surround it - even more so with holidaymakers simply looking for rest and relaxation. Created in 1968 by damming the San River, this is Poland’s largest artificial lake at 22km2, spreading its silver tendrils through the scenic valleys and forests of one of Poland’s most pristine wildernesses. More than just gorgeous views, the serene waters offer an array of outdoor adventures, water sports and wild beaches for both those seeking vacation vibes and more reclusive travellers looking for an escape into the wild. In the summer months, the main lakeside towns come to life with numerous events, festivals and evening entertainment organised for visitors, while the sleepy southern shores offer a respite from humanity.
Lake Solina in the Bieszczady Mountains of southeastern Poland.

Main Activities & Attractions at Lake Solina

Pretty much any water sport you can dream up is available here, with most activities based out of the northern towns of Solina and Polańczyk. In addition to kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards (SUP), pedal boats and sailboards, you can also rent sailboats and even 12-person yachts. Swimming and sunbathing are obviously popular, but so is fishing; Lake Solina is teeming with zander, perch, carp and trout, as you’ll notice by scanning any of the many lakeside restaurants serving fresh catches. Landlubbers will also find a network of hiking trails throughout the surrounding hills, making Lake Solina a great base for hiking excursions.

If you haven’t earned your sailing license yet, don’t fret. There are a multitude of easy ways to get out onto the emerald waters of Lake Solina, without getting wet or even exerting yourself. Scenic lake cruises are extremely popular, and available aboard a variety of vessels that regularly set off from Solina and Polańczyk. The range of offers includes sightseeing cruises with commentary from local guides, as well as romantic sunset cruises.
The dam in Solina is quite an engineering marvel and plays a crucial role in regulating the water levels of the lake. The largest dam in Poland, you can walk across it for fantastic views, and even take guided tours where you’ll learn more about how it works and powers the region. Nearby is the cableway station, which allows you to get over the water for outstanding aerial views of the dam, lake and surrounding landscapes over the course of its 1.5km trip. At the lower station your ticket includes a multimedia exhibit, while an additional ticket can be bought for the 50m observation tower at the upper station on Mount Jawor, which features a cafe and open terrace.
The cableway observation tower includes a 'skywalk' that also acts as an automated photo booth (additional ticket required).

The cableway and observation tower in Solina, the latter of which also happens to be next to an amusement park, isn’t the only way to get great panoramic views of the lake and mountains. The hike to this viewpoint on Mount Jawor is about 1hr from the upper cableway station, but also accessible by car. A good option for those who want to get away from the crowds, it’s a perfect picnic spot too.

Where to Stay on Lake Solina

While the northern shores around the waterside villages of Solina and Polańczyk are quite developed, other parts of Lake Solina are completely untouched. Accommodation is plentiful, ranging from hotels and holiday resorts to private cabins, cottages, glamping and camping. The further south you go, the less developed things become, so those wishing for more intimacy should avoid Solina and Polańczyk in favour of Zawóz, Olchowiec and Chrewt. There are many opportunities for camping, often just beyond the developed areas, so even those looking to lose themselves in nature can do so here. If you want to get away from civilization completely, keep in mind that Lake Solina is probably the most developed part of Bieszczady, so you might be better off further south, in or nearer the National Park.

The town of Solina, on the lake’s north end, is the best base for families, offering a range of accommodation options, long stretches of beach, convenient places to eat, easy access to incredible views (cableway, cruises) and numerous activities and attractions for children (water parks, amusement rides, etc.). The part of Solina on the south side of the dam, with long stretches of beach under Mount Jawor, is sometimes referred to as 'Jawor.'
Camping right above the beaches in Solina.

Polańczyk, on the northeast end of Lake Solina, also offers extensive infrastructure for visitors seeking a lakeside retreat, or water activities. The village has profiled as spa town since the flooding of the valley in the 1960s, but also boasts close proximity to several peninsulas and islands, making it the best base for sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, etc. The many marinas and sanatorium facilities make Polańczyk popular with young and old.
Lake Solina marinas in Polańczyk.

Practical Tips

Pack for all weather types. 
The weather in Bieszczady and at Lake Solina can be unpredictable, so even in the summer you should have plenty of layers, a waterproof jacket and even a winter hat. Trust us, we know.

Keep some cash handy.
While you shouldn’t have any trouble finding ATMs in Solina and Polańczyk, if you’re venturing further from civilisation, don’t be surprised to be asked to pay in cash and then discover that there is nowhere to get any cash for miles. Many small businesses still prefer cash payments out here, and you might miss out on the opportunity to spontaneously purchase some local goods if you don’t have any. Also, check ahead to be sure you won’t need a large amount of cash to pay for your accommodation.


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